This is the third year that we’re visiting Cap D’Ail. It’s a tiny village along the coast line of the French Mediterranean wedged between the Principality of Monaco and Eze Bord de Mer. Only twenty minutes by car to the International Airport in Nice, Cap D’Ail is a gem waiting to be discovered. A tiny and self-contained town, it’s best known for its pedestrian coastal path known as the Sentier Littoral. Meandering its narrow stone walkways built by the Romans, one comes away with the quintessential image of the Cote D’Azur.
Each time we walk the Sentier, it’s like falling in love for the first time. This is the perfect setting to bring back romance into your life! The contrast between the blue azure of the ocean and the sun-bleached white rocks is enough to make you want to take out brush and canvass and start painting. Make sure to bring a camera as there are limitless photos to capture on the water and on land.
There are a number of ways to access this beautiful path. You can park your car at the Cap D’Ail train station and go down the steps in the direction of the La Pinede Restaurant. Just follow the pedestrian signs. You can also reach it through narrow lanes off the Avenue du Trois Septembre. Again, look for and follow the blue pedestrian signs. These narrow streets take you past magnificent private homes, gardens and villas, which most tourists will never see. Stay close to the side of the road since these barely accommodate cars and pedestrians at the same time.
Another way to access the pedestrian walkway is to start from the Tennis Center of Monaco/Cap D’Ail heading west toward Mala Beach. You’ll find several restaurants along the way. Bicycles are not allowed and dogs on a leash are welcome. Informational signs posted along the way tell you about the local marine life. Picnic tables and public showers are discretely sited. Several types of cactus and an array of colorful coastal flora line the way.
The path is closed by the Mairie (town hall) during inclement weather. I totally get it. I took a fall last year on a wet and slippery part shortly after it was reopened following a rainstorm. The steepest and hardest section is when you’re nearing Mala beach, as there are lots of steep steps to get there.
You’ll pass fishermen along the way and if the water is warm, you may come across scuba or free divers looking for octopus and lobster. The views of the ocean, cliffs, birdlife and homes are simply spectacular. I love spending time here especially in the early morning hours or just before sunset with a bottle of wine, freshly baked baguette and assortment of delicious French cheeses. For me, this is heaven.